A football supporter enters a raffle and wins his dream prize, a ticket to the English FA Cup Final.

Unfortunately, when he gets to the stadium he discovers his seat is in the top row way above one of the goals.

He can barely follow the action but he can clearly see a free seat five rows off the pitch right on the midfield line The seat is still empty at halftime so he sneaks past the security guards and goes for it.

As he sits down, he asks the elderly man next to him if anyone is using the seat. The man says no.

The new arrival can’t believe his luck.

“This is incredible! Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for the Cup Final and not use it?”

The older man replies, “Well, actually, the seat belongs to me.I was supposed to come with my wife, but she passed away.This is the first Cup Final we haven’t been to together since we got married in 1962.”

“That’s really sad, but couldn’t you find a relative or a friend to come along?”

“No,” the older man replies, “they’re all at the funeral.”

Some of you may be cringing at that one, and I have to admit the geezer with the empty seat has some questionable values, but at least it’s a bit of football related fun.

I think lovers of the beautiful game could use some of that about now.

Sure, there is plenty of football to follow at the European Championships in France, but an awful lot of the news coming out of that tournament has been about violence and pain.

Hopefully things have calmed down by the time you read this, but as I write, Russian and English supporters are still having a go at each other and both groups are battling with the police.

It would appear many of the fans identify so closely with their teams that they feel hatred towards supporters of the countries they are scheduled to play.

The only thing the two groups know about each other is where they come from so the hatred doesn’t make much sense, but I guess that explains why we call supporters ‘fans’, which is short for fanatics.

Some of the violence has been brutal.

People have been seriously hurt, and that was the intention.

I feel quite sad about that because both playing football and watching it be played well can be extremely positive experiences.

Like playing or watching any sport, the experience can motivate us to develop our own sporting skills, and that ideally can lead to us striving for excellence in other areas of our lives.

In France, however, I’m afraid the experience has been a much more negative one, at least for the hooligans.

They want to win at all costs, but unfortunately for them when loosing is seen as a disaster, then winning becomes more of a relief than a joy.

That’s a real shame. Football is a game and games should be fun…regardless of whether we win or lose.

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